This past Spring Davidoff Cigars released a special limited edition culebra offering known as the Davidoff Culebras Limited Edition. A culebra is a group of three panatelas twisted together to form a snake-like entity. The origins of the culebra can be traced back to Cuba, but there are many conflicting stories about the creation of the culebra unit. While some culebra entities consist of three twisted cigars of the same blend, when it comes to the Davidoff Culebras Limited Edition, each unit contains a twisted panatela from each of the three blends from the Davidoff Discovery Pillar (Black) Label. These blends include Davidoff Nicaragua, Davidoff Escurio, and Davidoff Yamasá blends. Today we take a look at one of the panatela components of the Davidoff Culebras Limited Edition which will be referred to in this assessment as the Davidoff Nicaragua Culebra.
When former Davidoff CEO Hans-Kristian Hoejsgaard came on board in 2011, he implemented product innovation as a part of his corporate strategy. Davidoff Master Blender Henke Kelner was challenged to blend an all-Nicaraguan tobacco – something he had not done up until that time. This resulted in the release of Davidoff Nicaragua in 2013. This cigar would become a huge success for the company – and ultimately became a springboard for the Escurio, Nicaragua Box Pressed, and Yamasá lines.
This is not Davidoff’s first culebra release. The company had a previous offering with the Davidoff Special C. In that culebra offering, the three panatelas were identical blends. For the Davidoff Culebras Limited Edition, each of the panatelas are different blends.
Without further ado, let’s explore the Davidoff Nicaragua component of the Davidoff Culebras Limited Edition and see what this cigar brings to the table.
The Davidoff Nicaragua Culebra shares the same blend components as the rest of the Davidoff Nicaragua line.
Wrapper: Habano Seed Nicaragua Rosado
Binder: Habano Jalapa
Filler: Estelí Viso, Condegas Ligero, Ometepe Viso and Estelí Ligero
Country of Origin: Dominican Republic (TABADOM)
The Davidoff Nicaragua has been produced in seven sizes:
Culebra: 6 1/2 x 33 (Limited Production)
Short Corona: 3 3/4 x 46
Robusto: 5 x 50 (Tube packaging)
Toro: 5 1/2 x 54
Belicoso: 5 1/4 x 52 (Limited Production)
Diadema Fina: 6 1/2 x 50
6 x 60: 6 x 60 (Limited Production)
The Culebra is sold as a part of the Davidoff Culebras Limited Edition, which also contains the Escurio and Yamasá panatelas. Each Davidoff Culebras Limited Edition is packaged in an individual coffin containing the three twisted panatelas – one from each of the Discovery Pillar blends. The coffins are then available in 8-count boxes. In a nutshell, each coffin has one Davidoff Nicaragua Culebra panatela and each box has eight of them.
The Habano Rosado wrapper of the Davidoff Nicaragua Culebra has the line’s signature dark cinnamon color. There is a light coating of oil on the surface. This was a classic culebra component that was basically a scrunched panatela vitola. As a result, the Davidoff Nicaragua Culebra had a bumpy surface. There were some visible veins and visible wrapper seams.
The three panatelas of the culebra are twisted together in a classic Cuban style. There is a black ribbon tying the three panatelas together on each side of the culebra. Like any culebra, the individual panatela components aren’t the most attractive, but when all three are tied together, it’s a true work of art.
One thing that is unique is that each of the panatelas have a footer band to easily identify the blend of the panatela. These bands are similar to the secondary bands found on the Davidoff Escurio, Davidoff Yamasá, and Davidoff Nicaragua lines. In the case of the Davidoff Nicaragua, it is the orange-rust colored with black font and black trim. On the band, it says “NICARAGUA” in black font. To the left and right is an image of three mountains (that actually look more like pyramids).
Preparation for the Cigar Experience
I commenced the cigar experience of the Davidoff Nicaragua Culebra by using a straight cut to remove the cap. I then commenced with the pre-light draw. Given this was a twisted and thin vitola, it was a little hard to get a good dry draw, but I did get some natural tobacco sweetness and a slight cedar spice. Overall it wasn’t the most exciting pre-light draw, but since we do not factor pre-light into the value ratings or numeric scores, there was no loss of points here.
The Davidoff Nicaragua Culebra started out with more notes of sweet natural tobacco, black pepper, and cedar. The sweet natural tobacco and cedar moved into the forefront early on. The black pepper receded into the background on the tongue, but was still present on the retro-hale.
During the first third, I found both the sweet natural tobacco and cedar to vary in intensity. There were times the black pepper crept into the forefront. Midway through the first third, there was a citrus note that emerged. At first, there was an astringent quality to this citrus, however by the midway point of the cigar, there was more in the way of sweetness from the citrus.
Later in the second third of the Davidoff Nicaragua Culebra, the cedar and pepper notes took control and became the primary notes. By this point, there was a lot less sweetness. I found the natural tobacco notes had shed their sweetness and the citrus notes had developed the astringent component again. This is the way the Davidoff Nicaragua Culebra came to a close. The resulting nub was soft to the touch and cool in temperature.
Burn and Draw
Panatelas in a Culebra are typically under-filled so they can be twisted together. The Davidoff Nicaragua Culebra falls into that category, but I can honestly say it didn’t work against how it scored in both burn and draw. From a burn standpoint, I found the burn line to be straight and despite the twisted nature of the cigar, it maintained a straight burn path. The resulting ash was gray in color. It wasn’t an overly firm ash, but it wasn’t loose or flaky either. The burn rate and burn temperature were ideal.
The draw to the Davidoff Nicaragua Culebra was excellent. The underfilling had less of an impact due to the scrunching of the vitola itself. As a result, I was amazed to find this cigar had an ideal amount of resistance.
Strength and Body
In terms of strength and body, this is one of the more dialed back vitolas in the Davidoff Nicaragua line. The Davidoff Nicaragua Culebra started out mild to medium in strength and body. By the second third, the strength and body entered the medium range where it pretty much leveled off in the second half. Both the strength and body balanced each other nicely with neither attribute overshadowing the other.
My assessment with the Davidoff Nicaragua Culebra is very much in line with many other culebras. Very simply put, you are not going to get an optimum experience with a blend that is put into a less-filled, scrunched panatela. The Davidoff Nicaragua blend falls into this same category. On the other hand, it was a fun cigar to smoke – and something a little different to try. To get this cigar you are going to have to buy the whole Culebras Limited Edition coffin containing the three blends and that will run you $55.50. If you are into the novelty and fun, I would say go for it, but there definitely are better sizes of Davidoff Nicaragua to enjoy.
Key Flavors: Natural Tobacco, Cedar, Black Pepper, Citrus
Strength: Mild to Medium (1st Third), Medium (Remainder)
Body: Mild to Medium (1st Third), Medium (Remainder)
Value: Try One
News: Davidoff Culebras Features Discovery Pillar Blends
Price: $55.50 (3 Unit Culebra containing 3 blends)
Brand Reference: Davidoff
Photo Credits: Cigar Coop, except where noted